LAPIDARY DIGEST
Administered by Hale Sweeny (hale2@mindspring.com)
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This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 110 - Sun 2/1/98
2. NEW: Surface Treatments of Lapidary Items
3. NEW: Want Info on Vibra-Tek Rock Polisher
4. RE: Orienting Spectrolite and Labradorite
5. NEW: Want Info on Turbo-Carver
6. NEW: Cutting and Polishing Star Rubies/Sapphires
7. RE: Using Dishwashing Detergent in Tumbling
8. RE: Using Dishwashing Detergent in Tumbling
9. RE: Using Dishwashing Detergent in Tumbling
10. RE: Using Dishwashing Detergent in Tumbling
11. FS: Lortone 12 Lb. Tumbler


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<MSG1>

Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 110 - Sun 2/1/98

They just announced Lapidary Journal's website. The URL is
<http://www.lapidaryjournal.com>. Quoting from their letter,
online, you can read sample jewelry profiles and workshops,
search their Annual Buyers' Directory (products and suppliers
from all over the world), participate in their online bulletin
board, and much more.

Got a query yesterday from a club editor asking whether she
could print material from LapDigest in their club bulletins,
and this reminded me to request of you that you add the words:

non-commercial republish permission granted

to all submissions, so they can be reprinted.

Because we have received many different answers about the use
of soap in tumbling, I asked Doug Guthrie, a list member who
is also with LORTONE, to write Lortone's position on this.
His response is given below.

I apologize to the list for the lateness of this issue. It was
all ready to go out last Thursday, when personal matters kept
me from sending it out.

With this issue, I hope we will start a series of discussions
over the next couple of months on surface decorations. To help
start this, I have tried to organize my thoughts on this topic
to give it some structure, and the result is given below. I
hope you will contribute to this topic either by question or
response or by writing a posting about any of the subjects
listed below.

Stay safe, but above all, have fun!

hale
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Subject: NEW: Surface Treatments of Lapidary Items


In much of our lapidary work, we rely on the choice of stones
to give the effects we desire; that is, we design pieces with
particular stones in mind, knowing that their colors or
patterns will give the effect we want in the finished piece.
In intarsia and in channel work, choice of stones is a major
consideration if we are to achieve the color scheme and
balance we want in the finished piece.

But we do not design by material selection alone; many
lapidary projects involve only one material. In this case,
the design often involves treating or decorating, in one way
or another, the surface of the lapidary material. This is
evident when we make clock faces - usually we do something to
indicate the hours on the face.

There are several techniques used in surface treatment, which
I have categorized as shown below. In making this list, I had
in mind the making of bolos and clock faces, as these are two
applications in which surface decorations are often used. I
don't claim that this list is complete, but I have listed all
the methods which come to mind as of this writing. If you can
think of others, please let me know.

.. Polishing the Surface

-This is the standard way we usually finish surfaces.

.. Engraving, Etching or Incising a Design into the
Surface by

-Sandblasting the Design 67:07:518

Use any of several kinds of resists. Vinyl
resist material may be cut with Xacto knives
to your design. Special resists may be
obtained from companies like Rayzist, which
are made to your artwork, including photos.

We have all seen in ads

-Engraving or Carving the Design

-Acid Etching the Design (high silica rocks)

There are two kinds of etchant; one involves
hydrofluoric acid, which for me is a BIG
no-no; very bad stuff unless you are equipped
with chemical lab facilities. The other is a
milder and safer version. (I use Armour Etch,
Glass Etching Cream. It is made by Armour
Product of Wykoff, NJ, and is usually sold
in stained glass shops. It is a milder and
safer version based on partially
neutralized hydrofluoric acid [ammonium and
sodium acid salts of hydrofluoric acid].)
Note that these were designed to work on
glass, the milder one just frosts glass. Thus
to use them in lapidary work, the lapidary
material must have a high silica content, and
should be polished initially to highlight the
etched design.

-Texturing the Surface

-Incising a Design into the Surface

This is exactly the method used for scrimshaw.
It involves individual lines and not an area,
so the work is two dimensional and not three
dimensional, as is engraving.

.. Adding or attaching something to the surface

-Painting a design, or coloring with, e.g., dyes

-Applying decals

-Using photo-transfer techniques

-Doing metallic deposition by sputtering

Onto clear quartz crystals, gold is sputtered
over the surface giving only a molecule or
two thick layer. The result is the beautiful
color we see with aqua-aura: aqua-blue. This
is also done using silver and titanium.
Titanium gives a rainbow of colors. Very high
tech stuff.

-Glueing or otherwise attaching "things" onto the
surface

As an example, both my Federations sell small
cloisonne medallions of the Federation logos,
and I glued these onto two bolas made from
simple lapidary materials to make "Federation
Bolas". Also, most clocks made from lapidary
materials have cast numerals glued onto the
face.

-Gilding or applying gold or silver leaf

One respondent said that in making clock
faces, he recessed small circles into the
face at each hour, and added gold leaf in
the circles to mark the hours. Here the gold
leaf provided an accent, but it can be used
over broader areas to add a color.

-Doing metallic deposition by electroplate

It's true that you can not directly
electro-plate most lapidary materials, but
you can paint a design on the stone with a
conductive paint, and then plate that. The
metal will follow the design.


The purpose of this note is to introduce the topic and give
some structure to the topic. I hope in the coming months,
that we can present articles or discussions on each of these
techniques. For aqua-aura, I would like to see an article
describing the methods of sputtering employed, and something
about the general methods of making it. For the other items,
I would like to see articles more directed toward 'how to do
it yourself'. If you would like to write one of these, please
drop me a note and we can start working toward that.

hale
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Subject: NEW: Want Info on Vibra-Tek Rock Polisher


(Note: This and the one below were sent in as one post. I am
dividing them into two posts so that individual threads may
be started. - hale)


Hi!
I am into river and beach stones carving and polishing.
Usually, these stones are agates, quartz and jasper for the
most part. I saw a new tool advertized in the Lapidary
Journal (Nov.97) and would like comments:

Vibra-Tek rock polisher (model VTR-7601) : the ad features
patented electromagnetic coil that polishes in few short days
instead of weeks. Capacity is 3 lb. My question: has anybody
had experience using this piece of equipment? Can you get a
high gloss finish using it? How does it compare to the
conventional method? If not, could someone suggest me a
good tumbler (same capacity range) for a comparable price
(98$US)?

I appreciate very much the information shared thru this list
and this privileged access to the knowledge and experience
of you all. Thanks for being there!

Cerika Voce <toiledange@kamouraska.com>

"non-commercial republish permission granted"
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Subject: NEW: Want Info on Turbo-Carver

(Note: This and the one above were sent in as one post. I am
dividing them into two posts so that individual threads may
be started. - hale)


Hi!
I am into river and beach stones carving and polishing.
Usually, these stones are agates, quartz and jasper for the
most part. I saw new tool advertized in the Lapidary Journal
(Nov.97), and would appreciate comments on this tool: .

Ultra Speed Turbo carver (140$US) 400,000 RPM (air/co2
driven) : I am using a Foredom motor right now, and I was
wondering whether the increased speed of this tool would make
a big difference for carving intricate details in miniature
projects.

I appreciate very much the information shared thru this list
and this privileged access to the knowledge and experience
of you all. Thanks for being there!

Cerika Voce <toiledange@kamouraska.com>

"non-commercial republish permission granted"
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Subject: NEW: Cutting and Polishing Star Rubies/Sapphires


Hi,

I'm new to this list, and I have a question about star rubies
& sapphires..

I've got some rough star rubies and sapphires, which are not
too high of a grade, and some of them seem to have a lot of
spots on them that don't polish well. Some of them have
beautiful stars, but they are obscured by the unpolished
spots.

Is it just because they are a lower grade, or do they need to
be cut a certain way?

I'm cutting the stones in the following grit order: 100, 325,
600, 1200, 3000, 8000 prepolish, then 14000 polish.

Thanks.

Tony Ritchie
tony@mcn.org

-- non-commercial republish permission granted --
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RE: Orienting Spectrolite and Labradorite

Steve,

You might set the stone in modeling clay to hold it while you
are marking......? I've never cut any moonstone but this
might help..

Paul

Can be published for any use
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Subject: RE: Using Dishwashing Detergent in Tumbling


(I thought with all the different opinions of what should be
used for burnishing, I would ask Lortone to comment. Doug
Guthrie, a long time member of this list, wrote the following
and sent it to me for publication. He is rushed and on his
way to Tucson, and I thank him for taking time to do this.
Here's LORTONE's position on this discussion. hale)


Lortone tumbler barrels are made of SBR rubber with a
moderate oil content for flexibility. Over many years (15-20)
the volatile compounds slowly come out and the barrels tend
to get harder. Soaps in general tend to accelerate this
process by removing surface oils. With mild soap
concentrations it's hardly ever a problem. But stay away from
harsh soaps such as industrial powders and liquid hand washing
detergents.

The more caustic the soap, the less should be used. The
number one problem is using too much - don't. A very little
goes a long way. We recommend only about 1/2 tablespoon per
Gallon of water for normal burnishing compounds. If you find
a solution which causes problems then use less or switch to
something else. Remember, there are many, many different
compounds and we can't test even a fraction of them.

Doug Guthrie
LORTONE

"Non-commercial republish permission granted"
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Subject: RE: Using Dishwashing Detergent in Tumbling


Johnson Brothers puts out a 4-STEP @ $12.95 with instructions
to use TIDE detergent in each step (including polishing). I
have done "this for the grinding steps only" and it does work.
The object is to thicken the slurry for better tumbling
results. "DO NOT USE LIQUID SOAP" The reason was described in
the LapDigest #109. This may be reprinted by all.

Thanks BETTY and RUSS
jaderockshop@webtv.net
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<MSG9>

Subject: RE: Using Dishwashing Detergent in Tumbling


Terri,
I'll throw in my 2 cents for what it is worth.

When tumbling---

Between grit cycles I use lots of water and a toothbrush to
get in all the nooks and crannies. When I get ready to polish
I wash the rocks, use a tooth brush, then wash them again. I
even occasionally use a squirt of "Joy" liquid detergent in
plain water and run them for a couple of hours. It is amazing
how much grit and crud comes out of rocks that you think are
squeaky clean. Then I dump the dirty soapy water and fill the
tumbler with rocks, water, polish, and again a drop (not a
squirt, just a drop) of Joy. It makes the water "wetter."
Somehow it helps the polish.

After they have run through the polish cycle I wash them,
then run them in plain water and a squirt of Joy for a couple
of days. They I dry them in the sunshine. It is also amazing
what the sunshine does to brighten the shine.

Whenever my tumbled rocks don't take a good polish I go back
and examine my cleaning methods particularly between the last
grit cycle and the polish cycle. Even one grain of grit can
mess up the polish.

Dixie Reale
dixietr@magiclink.com
http://www.dopplerfx.com/kounting

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Subject: RE: Using Dishwashing Detergent in Tumbling

(Note from Hale: I received a note from Terri Collier
<scollier@concentric.net> with a note which Jan MacLellan
<jmaclellan@intergate.bc.ca> had sent to her directly. It is
reproduced below with permission. They were discussing the
soap or detergent used in tumbling.)


<<Terri,

As Frank said, you must use SOAP. Anything with additives in
it will interact with the synthetic rubber of the barrel and
lid and cause massive problems. You used to be able to buy
Ivory Snow flakes which were "99/44 100s% Pure" now it's
called "Ultra." We have checked with Proctor & Gamble and it
is, indeed, no longer pure soap. However, their small bars
of soap are, as is the yellow Sunlight bar soap. You can
scrape these and use that.

I've said this before on these lines, but others continue to
insist that detergent products will work just fine. DON'T
believe them!

Jan>>

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Subject: FS: Lortone 12 Lb. Tumbler


I have a Lortone 12 lb. tumbler for sale. It is the QB66
that has two 6 lb. barrels. It also has a new motor and belt.
Should last a long time. This will be sold to the first reply
for $80.00 postpaid within the continental US.

Ray Johnson
<rayj@BLomand.Net>
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